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Local government gets AMPs

Local authorities will for the first time get funding to create Asset Management Plans (AMPs) for protecting assets such as roads, bridges and streetlights, the government said last week.

The money will be used by councils to make a more robust asset inventory using detailed map referencing showing the condition of their highway network and where money most needs to be spent.

The £15M grant has been hailed as a major step forward by Leicestershire County Council director of highways Matthew Lugg.

"It's an important marker because it shows that the government recognises the benefit of AMPs and is prepared to put investment in," he said.

"For the purposes of inventory collecting this is a lot of money. It works out around £100,000 each for 150 local authorities."

He added that councils with robust AMPs would be able to draw more maintenance funding from the government in the future.

The cash is the first to be allocated from a £150M government fund set up in last October's Comprehensive Spending Review to help local government operate more efficiently.

Many local authorities have not started to develop AMPs and the fund will provide a good incentive to start, added Lugg.

But he warned the government against setting up a complicated bidding system that could potentially cost almost as much as the money they would be bidding for.

"We don't want some bureaucratic bid process as well," said Lugg.

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